April 23, 2024
Minister must provide clarity on ACRES balancing payments – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to provide a concrete timeframe for when ACRES balancing payments will be made.

In a response to a Parliamentary Question from Teachta Kerrane, the Minister stated that it is ‘expected’ that ACRES balancing payments will commence by the end of June.

Minister McConalogue had previously advised that balancing payments for the scheme would be made in May.

This follows significant delays to ACRES advance payments, with many farmers receiving interim payments in February, months after the intended December timeframe.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“It is disappointing that, after the serious delays to ACRES advance payments, the Minister is confirming that balancing payments for the scheme are only expected at the end of June, with no set date.

“The initial timeframe for ACRES balancing payments to be made was May and it appears now that, not only have the goalposts changed, there is still no set date.

“Following the debacle with delayed advance payments under the scheme, I would have expected that the Minister and his Department would ensure that the balancing payment date would be confirmed without any ambiguity.  

“As I have said before, any delay to farm payments could put farmers under serious pressure. Many family farmers rely on payments under schemes such as ACRES to pay the bills and enable them to carry out their spring and summertime activities.

“There is no doubt that the Minister is aware of the financial pressure that many farmers have been under in recent weeks as a result of difficult weather conditions and a fodder shortage, on top of the high input costs they already face.

“Farmers do not need another strain on top of that, they need certainty on when they can expect their payments.

“I am calling on the Minister to advise on a concrete timeline for ACRES balancing payments now, so farmers can be informed and plan accordingly.

“Minister McConalogue should also set out the timeframes for 2024 ACRES payments. It is the least he can do, given the issues with 2023 ACRES payments.

“Farmers deserve transparency and consistency when it comes to scheme payments, and it is something I will continue to hold the Minister to account on.”

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